Putting away therefore all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisies, envies, and all evil speaking, as newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious" (1 Peter 2:1-3 [World English Bible]).
We have enough babies that have been born in our church recently that we could ask the new parents to give an account of how much their newborn babies crave milk. They are insistent that they be fed. They do not exhibit any sort of patience when it comes to this desire. Their very life depends upon them being fed regularly with milk.
“Growth in any area of human existence is progressive, incremental. This growth, it goes without saying, is dependent on food as nourishment. Having noted the enduring character of the word of God, Peter depicts this 'word' as being the means by which nourishment comes to the Christian.” Expositor's Bible Commentary: Hebrews-Revelation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006) p. 313.
“. . . the main point of the imagery—illustrated by the verb 'crave'—is to stress the idea of hunger and focused pursuit. Peter wishes foremost to convey motivation for growth, not to suggest immaturity on the part of the readers (thus Grudem, 94).” Expositor's Bible Commentary: Hebrews-Revelation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006) p. 313.
Contrast this with what Paul says in Corinthians: “I fed you with milk, not with meat; for you weren’t yet ready. Indeed, not even now are you ready, for you are still fleshly. For insofar as there is jealousy, strife, and factions among you, aren’t you fleshly, and don’t you walk in the ways of men?” (1 Cor 3:2-3 [WEB]). and what the author of Hebrews says: For although by this time you should be teachers, you again need to have someone teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God. You have come to need milk, and not solid food. For everyone who lives on milk is not experienced in the word of righteousness, for he is a baby” (Heb 5:12-13 [WEB]).
The craving described by Peter is not the immaturity described by Paul. Peter reminds us that we need God's Word for our survival. Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God’” (Matt 4:4 [WEB]).
"if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious"
Peter here challenges his readers and us to not take for granted our salvation. Are we exhibiting evidence that we have indeed tasted that the Lord is gracious? Are we striving to put away all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisies, envies, and all evil speaking? Are we craving the Word of God even as a newborn craves milk? Or are we just content with thinking we have our “get out of hell free” ticket so we can now live the way we want?
Have we tasted that the Lord is gracious or are we avoiding dealing with our sins, excusing them as “not so bad” when in the sight of our Holy God, they are an affront? Have we placed our trust in the blood of Jesus Christ to save us from the wrath to come or are we thinking that because we are not as bad as some people that God will somehow just excuse the sins we practice?
James challenges us saying, “faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:26b [WEB]), and Paul tells us, “However God’s firm foundation stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let every one who names the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness” (2 Tim 2:19 [WEB]).
The Bible does not give us the luxury of taking God for granted. Let us indeed examine ourselves, asking ourselves whether indeed we have “tasted that the Lord is gracious.”